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5 Ways to Strengthen Your Fingernails

It’s easy to get fake nails that are long and beautiful, but often harder to grow your own to the desired length. Sometimes that’s because long nails are impractical, and other times it’s because it’s virtually impossible to grow them because they are weak and brittle. The good news is there are ways to strengthen nails naturally.

Our nails are made of keratin, which is a protein, and according to Livestrong, the strength of nails are determined by several components including age, environmental factors, and disease. With this in mind, it makes sense that a healthy, balanced diet, would result in strong nails, and according to Reader’s Digest, certain foods like leafy greens, almonds (magnesium), and dairy (calcium) can help nail health because of the vitamins and minerals found within them.

One of the easiest ways to prevent nail damage would be to use a nail hardener (without with the ingredients toluene sulfonamide or formaldehyde). Nail hardeners are a formula designed for weak, brittle nails. Reader’s Digest also notes that nails can benefit from Biotin supplements, as this vitamin has been scientifically proven to strengthen nails and reduced splitting.

Cuticle care (never cut them) and hand cream also play a significant role in overall nail health, with Prevention noting that you should be applying a moisturizing hand cream after washing and drying your hands to help lock in moisture. The best creams for this would be those that comprise 5 percent lactic acid. But it is also beneficial to keep your nails short, as Healthline claims that long nails are more susceptible to trauma as they can easily get caught on things and tear.

You can also avoid breakage and damage by protecting your nails from the elements and household cleaning products. This can be done by wearing rubber gloves while washing dishes, because water can weaken nails by softening them, and according to LiveStrong, The American Academy of Dermatology says that exposing nails to water on a regular basis can cause bacterial growth, which causes damage to the nails.

It’s not just cleaning products and water that have a negative effect on the health of nails, but also nail polish. Although it may look great, extended use of nail polish can damage nails by leaving them dry and brittle. According to Reader’s Digest, you should not leave your nail polish on for more than five days, and after removing it, wait another five days before reapplying a polish. Also, never pick or peel your polish!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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